2:00PM Water Cooler 10/18/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers:

Well, that was embarrassing! More to come, partly because I need to make up for yesterday, partly because I got wrapped round the axle on two hairballs, and that metaphor might not be mixed: Mulvaney and Canning town. –lambert UPDATE All done!

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“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

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Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. Here is (are) the latest Dem Primary Polling as of 10/18/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

Joe Biden’s brutallly effective juggernaut rolls on; he’s got cash now, after all. Sanders’ heart attack had no impact (though if the impact is to put a ceiling on his vote that would not be evident), and Warren hasn’t put him away. And here are the poll results:

I’ve gotta put in some counters for the IA, NH, SC, and NV, as well as CA. Current polling (from RCP, yech):

If I were a Sanders supporter, I’d be worried about all four. IA because the expectation from 2016 is that Sanders will win (even if his opponent then carried an enormous amount of baggage), ditto NH, SC needs more than the black youth vote, and NV, where he is doing best, because (a) that’s Reid’s patch, and Reid is tight with Warren, and (b) the local Democrat loyalists have shown themselves adept at skuduggery. Interestingly, Sanders is doing quite well in California, at with Biden 23.8, Warren 22,0, and Sanders 21.0. All that will change, of course, after the initial four primaries.

I think dk has started a really neat project, and in the near future we’ll seek your feedback (within reason) for the tool “live.”

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Biden (D)(1): “With Warren’s rise, Biden faces Dems’ anxiety about 2020 bid” [Associated Press]. “Joe Biden is confronting growing anxiety among would-be allies in the Democratic establishment about his ability to win the presidential nomination following underwhelming debate performances, lagging fundraising and withering attacks from rivals in his own party and from President Donald Trump . The former vice president’s bank account is better suited for a city council race than a presidential election, warns Terry McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor and Democratic National Committee chairman.” • Ouch! More: “Democratic donor Robert Zimmerman describes group ‘therapy sessions’ with some party financiers haranguing the direction of the race. And in New Hampshire, state House Speaker Steve Shurtleff is leaning toward backing Biden, but says ‘people wish he’d be a little more forceful.’ Their concern is heightened by the rise of Elizabeth Warren, a progressive long viewed by current and former elected officials, big donors and veteran strategists as too liberal to beat Trump in the general election. Warren and Biden are essentially tied at the top of the race with the rest of the field lagging behind.” • (Note that dk’s polling indicates that there’s a third, unmentioned candidate very much in the race.) • If the party grandees can’t accept Warren (let alone Sanders), wants to throw Biden under the bus, knows that Harris came up lame, who’s left? Mayo Pete?

Bloomberg (D)(1): “Mike Bloomberg now hints he may run for president as Warren surges, Biden sags” [Salon]. “Bloomberg has told his inner circle that he is “still looking at” running for president, according to the report, though associates said he would only jump in if Biden slid so badly that he is forced to drop out early in the primaries. CNBC previously reported that Bloomberg was considering spending more than $100 million of his own money to fund a centrist run.” •

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Buttigieg removes attorney from fundraiser after backlash” [Associated Press]. “Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is returning campaign contributions from a former Chicago city attorney who led a vigorous effort to block the release of a video depicting the shooting of Laquan McDonald , a black teenager whose death at the hands of police stirred months of protest and resulted in an officer’s conviction. Buttigieg is also removing Steve Patton as a sponsor of a Chicago fundraiser that will be held Friday, his campaign said. The move comes after The Associated Press reported on the event Friday morning and Buttigieg faced fierce online backlash.” • Sloppy staffwork!

Buttigieg (D)(2):

Nobody tell Stoller; he’d have a stroke.

Buttigieg (D)(3): On Buttigieg’s “Medicare for All Who Want It” scam:

Buttigieg (D)(4): I shouldn’t dunk on Buttigieg too much, but I can’t resist:

(And to be fair, what is true of Mayo Pete is also true of many other Democrat candidates:

Gabbard (D)(1): “Hillary Clinton appears to suggest Russians are ‘grooming’ Tulsi Gabbard for third-party run” [CNN]. • Clinton easing into her role as “kingmaker” by picking off one of the weaker candidates.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “How Bernie won a prized endorsement from his hospital bed” [Politico]. “As the 78-year-old Sanders laid in a hospital bed in Nevada after a heart attack, with his presidential campaign in jeopardy, his campaign manager Faiz Shakir received a call and passed his phone to the Vermont senator. It was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She told Sanders she was coming aboard his campaign, months before she was expected to issue an endorsement.” • I think this speaks well of AOC.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “Rep. Rashida Tlaib hasn’t endorsed Bernie Sanders yet: What she’s saying” [Detroit Free Press]. “”I have not made any endorsement at this time,” Tlaib said in a statement to the Free Press, adding that she is planning to bring Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont, to her Detroit-based district on Oct. 27 for a tour. That doesn’t mean Tlaib won’t endorse Sanders, only that she hasn’t done so at this time. Recently, Tlaib welcomed another Democratic presidential candidate — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — and the two talked about environmental hazards in the district and filmed a Facebook piece together. In explaining why she hasn’t made an endorsement yet, Tlaib told the Free Press, ‘It is critically important to me to involve my residents and my district in every major decision I make because staying rooted in community makes our movement stronger.’ ‘I am looking forward to bringing Senator Sanders to Michigan on Oct. 27 for a tour of our district that will highlight economic justice issues and corporate tax giveaways, and (include) a roundtable with housing justice advocates,’ she said. ‘I need to know that anyone I choose to endorse will fight for my residents, and I appreciate the opportunity for them to have a dialogue with Sen. Sanders about these critically important issues.'” • If Tlaib wants to stage a beauty contest on behalf her constituents, I don’t think that speaks badly of her, either.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): Post attributes Sanders “gotcha” moment to Warren in debate transcript, which many other venues pick up:

The mistakes always seem to go in one direction….

UPDATE Sanders (D)(4): Another very creative ad from a Sanders supporters:

Warren (D)(1): “My Warren Problem” [Richard Goldstein, First of the Month (MsExpat)]. “A real transformation has to be truly popular, and right now, Warren’s movement is parochial. It’s sense of the feasible is shaped by an environment that broadcasts its beliefs. Social media amplifies these assumptions exponentially, and the lust for clicks and ratings creates an echo chamber that can block the truth from sounding. Every blip in Warren’s numbers reverberates, and the result is an exultant mood that doesn’t reach very far beyond Rachel Maddow’s demographics. If I’m proven wrong, I’ll gladly eat my locally sourced hemp hat. But I’ve worked in liberal media long enough to know where its interests lie. It relies on the economic power of the professional classes, and it plays to their biases. No one makes stuff up, but a pervasive semiotics—the tone of headlines, the choice of images, decisions about whose name comes first in a list of candidates [or is disappeared from the list –lambert]—is always at work. It can seem that everything you read and watch affirms what your tribe believes. You wake up on the morning after the election in a state of shock because you never saw the outcome that was looming. This is the danger we face again.” • So I’m not the only one. The whole piece is well worth a read, contrarian though it be. MsExpat comments: “Do you know who Richard Goldstein is? He is the longtime editor at the Village Voice, in its heyday. I’m surprised he wrote this, since it goes against the grain of NY liberal orthodoxy as exemplified by another ex Voice writer like Joe Conason or Michael Tomasky.”

UPDATE Warren (D)(2): “Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All Dilemma” [John Cassidy, The New Yorker]. “[T]he [option] I think [Warren] is most likely to choose, involves qualifying her commitment to Medicare for All by again emphasizing its aspirational nature, and stressing that, if she does get elected, other priorities would come first. Adopting this strategy would be less of a reversal than a return to where she started. In an interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, shortly before the debate in June, Warren said that her first two priorities would be pursuing her anti-corruption package, which would severely restrict the activities of lobbyists and create a new U.S. Office of Public Integrity, and passing her wealth tax. She said that Medicare for All was a ‘fight that matters to me’ but didn’t give any timetable for engaging in it.” • So the “I’m with Bernie” story would have to change….

UPDATE Warren (D)(3): “Black farmers say Warren’s plan wouldn’t solve their biggest problem” [WaPo]. “More than 60 black farmers, advocates and academics have signed onto a letter critiquing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s farm plan, saying it fails to adequately help African American farmers. …. In the draft letter, advocates call on Warren to endorse reparations for black farmers who have lost their land. They propose creating a land trust that would buy land from retiring black farmers and set it aside for younger black farmers, and requiring federal agencies to provide better data on black farm losses. Another key complaint among advocates is that Warren’s plan fails to eliminate a system that gives county-level committees significant influence over distributing federal resources to farmers.” • And land seizures from black farmers have continued to the present day.

UPDATE Warren (D)(4): “Elizabeth Warren deletes infamous, year-old Native American DNA tweet” [New York Post]. “‘My family (including Fox News-watchers) sat together and talked about what they think of @realDonaldTrump’s attacks on our heritage,’ wrote Warren in the since-deleted tweet, referring to the president’s public chiding of her as ‘Pocahontas’ for her tenuous claims of Native American ancestry. ‘And yes, a famous geneticist analyzed my DNA and concluded that it contains Native American ancestry.'” • Which isn’t the same as being a Cherokee, because being a Cherokee is not by blood. This won’t help.


“Mulvaney admitted to a quid pro quo with Ukraine. Was that a genius move?” [Guardian]. “nd there it was, practically out of the blue, at a press conference, Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, by and large admitted that the president held back military aid to force Ukraine to investigate the business dealings of Hunter Biden. Asked whether the administration had told the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, that funding would not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened as well, Mulvaney said: ‘We do – we do that all the time with foreign policy.'” • That, dear readers, is a classic Kinsley gaffe: “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” More: “But it also completely changes the importance of the impeachment procedure in the House. When the House committee will find evidence for the quid pro quo deal, which seems near certain at this point, many people, and particularly most Republicans, will respond much more blasé. “We already knew that.” It raises the bar for the committee to come up with something ‘new’ and ‘shocking.'” • Lost amidst all the triumphalist yammering is the fact that liberal Democrats have now succeeded in defining corruption down to quid pro quo, against the Framer’s intent (see Zephyr Teachout), although naturally in conformance with the Republican view in Citizen’s United, because who doesn’t love them some conservative jurisprudence when money’s at stake?

“Diplomat tells investigators he raised alarms in 2015 about Hunter Biden’s Ukraine work but was rebuffed” [WaPo]. “George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, testified Tuesday that he worried that Hunter Biden’s position at the firm Burisma Holdings would complicate efforts by U.S. diplomats to convey to Ukrainian officials the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality rules surrounding the deposition. Kent said he had concerns that Ukrainian officials would view Hunter Biden as a conduit for currying influence with his father, said the people. But when Kent raised the issue with Biden’s office, he was told the then-vice president didn’t have the “bandwidth” to deal with the issue involving his son as his other son, Beau, was battling cancer, said the people familiar with his testimony.” • Ah, the Beau card. So, I mean, obviously, confronted with the spectre of the soon-to-be-only son of a Presidential candidate being open to kompromat, what Trump should have done was hire a law firm (Republican equivalent of Perkins Coie), to hire a cut-out (Republican equivalent of Fusion GPS), to hire an intelligence community-adjacent foreign oppo researcher (Republican equivalent of Steele), to get to the truth of the matter, dag nab it, and then route it through appropriate channels, including anonymously to the press. Instead, being Trump, he cut out all the layers indirection and got crass. You hate to see it.


“Democrats have reason to worry after the last presidential debate” [The Hill]. “the eventual nominee must make an emotional connection. This election cannot be about academic policies or convoluted plans that voters know will never pass Congress. It must be about connecting with people and laying out a better path forward for the country. Democrats have no choice other than to rely on historic turnout from African Americans, suburban women, and millenials. Without those critical demographics, Democrats risk another loss to Trump.” • The author “served on the Democratic presidential campaigns for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Delaney.” You “serve” in the government or the military, not a political campaign, for pity’s sake.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President” [

UPDATE “Reason Won’t Save Us” [Nautilus]. Long, but well worth a read. “If we are to address gathering existential threats, we need to begin the arduous multigenerational task of acknowledging that we are decision-making organisms rather than uniquely self-conscious and willfully rational. Just as we are slowly stripping away pop psychology to better understand the biological roots of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, stepping back from assigning blame and pride to conscious reasoning might allow us a self-image that reunites us with the rest of the natural world as opposed to declaring ourselves as unique. Only if we can see that our thoughts are the product of myriad factors beyond our conscious control, can we hope to figure out how to develop the necessary subliminal skills to successfully address the world’s most urgent problems. If AI can improve itself, so can we.” • 

UPDATE “PX column: The perspective on Ohio’s Trump Country you won’t find anywhere else” [Cincinatti Enquirer]. From someone who grew up there, fortunately: “The truth is, these aren’t a bunch of Bible-thumping hillbillies. I spoke with nearly 20 Trump supporters. Most of them didn’t want to be quoted, but every single one of them said the No. 1 thing they like about Trump is he’s focused on jobs. Nothing about Russia or building walls or locking anyone up.” And:

Every person I talked to about Trump, generally said:

He was the lesser of two evils – and still is.

I like what he’s doing on the economy.

I wish he’d stop tweeting.

More: “It’s easy to see why the economy is top of mind. Gallia County is one of the poorest counties in the state… I can remember coming home a decade ago and there were four of those sleazy, check-cashing places within a 2-mile radius. All of the stores where we shopped growing up – Haskins-Tanner clothiers, Knight’s Department Store, Carl’s shoe store – had been shuttered. But the residents have optimism like I haven’t seen in a long time. Gallia County’s unemployment rate is 5.6%, the lowest its been since 1979. Most of the storefronts in Gallipolis again have businesses. Some residents attribute that to Trump, though the economy was showing signs of rebounding before he was elected.”

UPDATE “What Liberals Miss About Trump Country” [Jacobin]. “The effects of Donald Trump’s presidency on the American economy are widely debated, but there’s at least one field of production whose boom is indisputably a result of his election: the conservative voter ethnography industry…. Though the image of the uneducated white Trump voter is omnipresent in American political discourse, the fact that Trump’s support comes disproportionately from the affluent is seldom mentioned. And among the lower-income people who do pull the lever for the GOP, opinions tend to be very different from those of high-income Republicans, particularly when it comes to economics…. Among Republicans pulling in less than $40,000, 45 percent believed that economic inequality was caused by systemic unfairness in the economy. Only 18 percent of their wealthier counterparts endorsed such a view. Overall, the authors of the report concluded that about one in five Republican voters held views about the economy closer to the average Democrat than the average Republican. Though these poor Republicans are a minority of Trump’s coalition, they are a substantial one.”

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, September 2019: “The index of leading economic indicators is pointing increasingly to slowing ahead” [Econoday]. “The report said the results reflect uncertainty in the outlook and falling business expectations.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 50, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 42 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 18 at 1:21pm.

The Biosphere

Tactical issues, here:

Perhaps some of our UK readers can enlighten me on Extinction Rebellion’s choice of venue. “Canning Town… remains among the 5 per cent most deprived areas in the UK.” Just two stops down the Jubilee Line is Canary Wharf, “one of the main financial centres of the United Kingdom.” What’s the lesson here? “Rebel for life” means that Finance CEOs have impunity, but the working class needs to get over this public transportation thing and walk to work?


Maybe I should have filed this under zeitgeist watch. Thread:

Yes, “Liquid Death,” a water brand in a tallboy can, raised $1.6 million on seed funding.

Let’s not do this, either:

Class Warfare

“‘Go back to work’: outcry over deaths on Amazon’s warehouse floor” [Guardian]. “In September, Billy Foister, a 48-year-old Amazon warehouse worker, died after a heart attack at work. According to his brother, an Amazon human resources representative informed him at the hospital that Billy had lain on the floor for 20 minutes before receiving treatment from Amazon’s internal safety responders…. Amazon said it had responded to Foister’s collapse ‘within minutes’ [lol]. The worker, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, noted the Amnesty worker started CPR after finding Foister. … The incident is among the latest in a series of accidents and fatalities that have led to Amazon’s inclusion on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s 2019 Dirty Dozen list of the most dangerous employers in the United States.” • Idea: Bezos could paint their names on the side of that space ship he’s building so he can escape to Mars. A fitting memorial indeed!

UPDATE “Amazon Is Spending Big to Oust Seattle’s Socialist Council Member” [The Nation]. “The Amazon-backed PAC is backing challengers against all but one of the three incumbents running for reelection, which has left many predicting that the City Council is going to look a lot different next year. The Washington Technology Industry Association, the state’s largest tech trade group, which this year endorsed political candidates for the first time, also backed Orion. Top executives at Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft have donated to Orion’s campaign, including Jay Carney, the PR and policy chief for Amazon and former White House press secretary to President Barack Obama; and Sam Whiting, director of Boeing Global Engagement. ‘It’s clear now to the majority of people that big corporations like Amazon are absolutely going to war against ordinary people in this city, in this election, and are attempting to buy this election,’ said Sawant.” •

UPDATE “When capitalisms collide” [Nature]. “Better metrics and theories will not be enough to create a sustainable economic and social model. Or, they could — but only if they convince policymakers and the public to act differently. The future of capitalism is out of the hands of those who spend their time thinking about it.” • Book review of In Defense of Open Society, George Soro; Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World, Branko Milanovic; and Measuring What Counts: The Global Movement for Well-Being, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Jean-Paul Fitoussi and Martine Durand.

News of the Wired

“Blood fills Iowa family’s basement” [KTIV]. • With photo.

And as a palate cleanser:

Quite a few interesting comments.

Sorry to end on the horror-film note, but that’s what came over the transom. Light comedic responses in comments welcome!

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (hunkerdown):

hunkerdown writes: “This bit of lawn probably irritates you. The local fauna don’t seem to mind…” Not as much as the kind of lawn that looks like artificial turf….

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Henry Moon Pie

    “what Trump should have done was hire a law firm (Republican equivalent of Perkins Coie), to hire a cut-out (Republican equivalent of Fusion GPS), to hire an intelligence community-adjacent foreign oppo researcher (Republican equivalent of Steele)”

    See how the liberals do their thing? And so many here are skeptical that Establishment Dems could ever support a jobs programs. It just needs to be jobs for the right kind of people, i.e. lawyers, ex-“intelligence” community, lawyers, political consultants, lawyers, ex-military, lawyers, children of big shots, lawyers.

    1. Titus

      “Instead, being Trump, he cut out all the layers indirection and got crass.” To complete the thought, no Trump didn’t get crass, what he did was run afoul of a common law principle of abuse of power. Not the use of it, but who it benefited, the United States or himself? It’s simple enough. Swamp or not. I think Matt Tabbi is great I also he’s wrong. At some point as a citizen it would be great to have any part of the government or branch do anything useful.

          1. pjay

            Yes! This is Trump’s most important positive contribution — exposing the utter hypocrisy and corruption of the “liberal” Establishment — whether he means to or not.

            1. Off The Street

              Oh, he absolutely, positively means it. You don’t get the Generals and the NSA behind you to run without some serious debriefing about the extreme levels of corruption, treasonous and seditious behavior and exposure to the data collected on those purporting to represent the citizens of the USA. Note that early comment about We Have It All, likely referencing some server(s) in Utah or elsewhere storing those sketchy emails and texts, just awaiting the self-inflicted wounds by those that were plotting, hatching and scheming.

              There is a wealth of publicly available information regarding much of the above through FOIA and on-the-record sources, but precious little attention media so far. I look at Hillary’s latest little gibe at Tulsi Gabbard as a reactive strike due to pressure increasing and nooses tightening. I will celebrate when Hillary and her cohorts are taken down through legal means, with some semblance of restoration of order and the rule of law.

              Troll prophylactic: none of the above excuses any illegalities or other bad behaviors by any parties, at 1600 or elsewhere! Many of us citizens desperately want some restoration of civility and order. A few feathers will be ruffled, then life will resume.

    2. The Hang Nail

      Crass? Maybe, but there is the additional layer of using congressionally appropriated money as leverage. Also, there is the lure of having the Ukranian government announce investigations. There is nothing wrong with hiring people to investigate Biden in Ukraine as long as the investigators are indepedent of the functions of the US government – no quid pro quing.

      The GOP are going to both-sides this thing to death. They will conveniently ignore how Trump uses leverage as the president to dig up dirt, get business for his company and so on. And when those defenses fail they will just call it a crass form of what Democrats do but with no evidence, just insinuation. Kind of like pointing out how Biden is shady while ignoring Trump’s vastly larger portfolio of corruption.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Using congressionally appropriated money as leverage’? You mean like when a Vice-President threatens to withhold $1billion form a desperate country unless said country fires the prosecutor investigating the VP’s son in that country? That sort of leverage? The crass part is when the VP boats about it on video in front of a crowd knowing nobody will ever dare try to touch him for it.

        1. Robert Hahl

          Mulvaney’s statement that “We do – we do that all the time with foreign policy” is a typically Trumpian thing to say. It reminds people that Biden did the same thing himself. So then the Dems have to say: but, but, but, Joe did it for the country not himself! Which makes everybody think back to the apparent side benefit of helping his son’s company, and their mind goes into an endless loop. This is Trump’s genius.

          1. MK

            This is Trump’s genius. Formed from Queens, then Manhattan, then NBC. The IRONY. NBC, which is about 99.98% anti-Trump, is one of the main reasons he is president today. First the Apprentice, then once ingrained as a top notch executive, his candidacy.

            Which is why I have no doubt that the soft coup against him since January 2017 will end up as a boomerang – just like @NBC.

          2. kiwi

            It’s as if no one has heard of the golden rule: whoever has the gold makes the rules.

            Aside from the confusion about whether Trump-Ukraine were talking about a purchase of weapons that was already in the works (as opposed to ‘aid’), I don’t get why people don’t know that funders usually make the rules. You get a federal grant – you follow the grant terms; you get a loan, you follow the loan terms; you get a donation with strings, you follow the strings….

            I don’t know what I am missing. Don’t countries make various agreements all of the time?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Kind of like pointing out how Biden is shady while ignoring Trump’s vastly larger portfolio of corruption.

        Evaluating candidates by their “portfolios of corruption” is the most sophisticated variant of Lesser of Two Evils I have seen. Blackrock v. Madoff. Which to choose? Decisions, decisions….

  2. zagonostra

    “Biden is confronting growing anxiety among would-be allies in the Democratic establishment”

    This term, “Democratic establishment” so much taken for granted in today’s political environment certainly repudiates Robert Dahl’s pluralist theory of democracy – C. Wright Mills was closer to the mark.

  3. petal

    Update on the LMIAL house I pass on my commute: they have removed their Liz Warren sign and have gone all in on Amy for America! Still 2 AfA signs, I suppose to even out the 2 Mayor Pete signs a couple houses down. My amusement bar is low, friends. Y’all have a nice weekend!

    1. pretzelattack

      this is oddly fascinating. i thought liz was the new frontrunner, wonder why they dumped her.

      1. petal

        Great question! They seem to have been shifting toward AfA for a while now, having first ditched the Kamala Harris sign, then a while after that ditched the Warren sign(I believe in the last week or so). It’s fascinating. And the 2 Mayo Pete signs are not in a yard, they are in 2 front windows of a single house, which I find kind of strange. Other than that, no real enthusiasm for other candidates around here(Upper Valley of NH) that I can tell. Totally different than last time. Last time it was huge for Bernie and there was Bernie swag everywhere on everything/body. There were even a few Hillary people. It’s totally dead this time. No bumper stickers, signs, nothing. Maybe it’s too early yet?

        Common People by Pulp just came on the radio. One of my favourite songs.

        1. pretzelattack

          makes me feel like a kremlinologist, trying to decipher the meaning of which leaders are photographed in which positions, or airbrushed out entirely.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              it is fun.
              you can learn a lot by wandering around, and paying attention.
              we have a couple houses like that…but for hard core GOP loyalists(all old, relatively well off, and stuck in 1982.
              they are always the first to get signs of any kind.
              of course, the last 10 years, there has been no D-Party headquarters, here…nor a working phone number(nor in 3 of the 4 surrounding counties)…so, no signs…except for the petit bourgeoisie that constitute the local Demparty. they can afford to drive to austin, i guess.(when they’re not sipping wine in their hillforts, that is)
              newest bumperstickers i’ve seen(on cars parked on the square, which is the best sample field around here) are rather belligerently pro-trump…doubling down on crass boorishness. all of those(4-5) are on newish, shiny(ish) large black dualleys, with rolling coal pipes. This is an indicator that the owners are not from here,or newly arrived(recent rash of nuveau oil money bought up large chunks of legacy big spreads…settler descendants couldn’t afford the taxes/upkeep.)
              gop signs usually start appearing after new years(primary is in march)…and they have a defacto headquarters in an antique store on the square(3 out of 5 bidnesses on the square are openly gop supporters(same bunch mentioned above): in yer face flags, little plaques with ‘stupid libtard’ sayings, etc. the rest make efforts to appear neutral…which is a big reason dems lose out here…can’t find them with a geiger counter)

              1. The Rev Kev

                I wonder what would happen if somebody put in a sign that said ‘Vladimir Putin 2020’ in front of an abandoned house. That might get a stir that.

        2. anonymous

          The official campaign stores carry a different selection of merchandise. The Warren, Harris, and Klobuchar websites sell yard signs, and the Sanders and Buttigieg sites do not sell large yard signs with frames, only somewhat smaller rally signs. (One could find other merchandise on sites such as Cafe Press.)

        3. Chris Smith

          “Common People” – great song.

          You’ll never get it right
          ’cause when you are lying in bed at night
          counting roaches on the wall
          you could call your dad and stop it all

          1. petal

            My fave is this. It gets me every time. sigh.
            “You’ll never fail like common people
            You’ll never watch your life slide out of view,…
            You will never understand
            How it feels to live your life
            With no meaning or control”

            1. jcf76

              There’s a rumor that Yanis Varoufakis’ wife is the subject of the song. She’s Greek, studied at St. Martin’s college in London at the same time as Jarvis Cocker and is from a wealthy family.

              1. Lydia Maria Child

                Came here to say the same. That rumor is true. He confirmed it during his interview on Chapo a while back.

            2. Librarian Guy

              Agreed it’s a great song for those of us who spent some time in the Underclass. I had to drop out of college at 19 and worked for 6 years. My dad had money but was an insane fascist (he’s still alive, 86 yrs. old, a Trump guy, lost most of his legitimate fortune to get-rich-quick schemes in the last 2 decades, now lives off Social Security, which he derided for years as a “Ponzi scheme”), I had no contact with my parents for about 4 years, for the sake of my own physical safety. (Dad learned I had once smoked a joint, mused that he would look into getting me committed to a mental institution. No sane, “normal” white 19 year old would’ve smoked a joint in 1979 of course– though come to think of it, most of my 20+ cousins had, and weren’t threatened with institutionalzation) . . .

              Worked in oil field pipe inspection yard in rural Louisiana, then 8 months in the Merchant Marine bringing supplies to the Oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, then bartending in N’Awlins, hotel service work, movers, Tennis Court Construction, etc. In my mid-20s I went back to college (still reasonably cheap in the 80s in the South) & easily got my BA in Spanish (as I’d spent nearly a year abroad in Latin America after being a coffee-picking Sandalista in Nicaragua for 4 months), & gradually made my way out of the poorer classes.

              But I’m not like my liberal, boozhie friends (apart from education level, now with a Masters degree, etc.), I know that for most people there’s NO safety net beyond your friends’ network . . . glad to have escaped desperation and poverty, living paycheck to paycheck, but I have no illusions that it’s permanently beat and not hovering to pounce, if I have a bad medical bankruptcy or fall into some other Late Capitalist trap.

          1. Romancing The Loan

            Love that version – he really puts the curled lip scorn into it.

            Someone should synch it up with examples of politicians transparently faking working class authenticity – Harris saying she was listening to NWA, Warren chugging a beer, maybe even GHWB not knowing how much a gallon of milk cost.

            1. Wukchumni

              Shatner has a nice ranch here in town, but is seldom if ever seen…

              The best tale i’ve ever heard was that of the starship captain in a powerboat rescuing somebody stranded on a small island @ the mouth of Lake Kaweah about 30 years ago, where the main fork of the Kaweah River empties into the lake.

              If you were the one being rescued, would you say:

              “One to beam up”

            2. Librarian Guy

              That has always been the best version imho as well. It’s the first version I heard on college radio, like the straight Pulp song, but it’s one time Shatner really hits the mark. (Not like his Beatles cover travesties).

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          >.Common People by Pulp just came on the radio. One of my favourite songs.

          That’s a great song I have never heard:

          Lyrics. Best of all, the opening two lines:

          She came from Greece, she had a thirst for knowledge
          She studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s College

          I had picked up as a quotable bright shiny nugget somewhere in my travels — perhaps here? — and now I know the source!

          How on earth can a culture that produces a brilliancy like this produce an enormous clusterf*ck like Brexit…

      1. petal

        Oh my I have no idea what Trillbillies is! I think the only podcast I have ever listened to in my life was a Car Talk one after Tommy passed away almost 5 years ago.

          1. petal

            I have a visceral reaction to talk stuff like that, so I doubt I will listen, but thank you, though. All while I was growing up, my not-a-very-nice-guy-to-me father had Rush Limbaugh and the Rochester (NY) AM talk radio station on practically 24-7. Even 20+ years after his death, I still cannot handle any kind of talk radio/podcasts-my bp goes up and I get angry, no matter what it is about. Triggered! ha! Car Talk I can stand because of the personal connection, but that’s it. It’s pretty much music or nothing for me. Just can’t do it. Sorry, guys.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I’d give the Trillbillies ten or fifteen minutes. It’s not like Rush Limbaugh yelling into the mike at all. It’s more like having a bunch very bright, very left, very stoned young people hanging out on the couch. Returning to “Common People” for a moment:

              Jarvis Cocker told the story of the song to Uncut magazine August 2010:

              It all started with me getting rid of a lot of albums at the Record And Tape Exchange in Notting Hill. With the store credit I went into the second-hand instrument bit and bought this Casio keyboard. When you buy an instrument, you run home and want to write a song straight away.

              The Trillbillies would totally get this, viscerally. Casio, not The Mighty Wurlitzer.

              Adding, also I believe they were BlackJewel miner’s strike-adjacent, which is a good thing to be.

            2. Procopius

              For some reason most of the podcasts I have tried did not work. The few that did work I didn’t like. In general, I do not like the format anyway. Most of my life after 1949 was spent in situations where I could not listen to the radio. I like some YouTube clips, but I can’t stand Jimmy Dore or Joe Rogoff (except for the Tulsi Gabbard interview, that was awesome). Mark Blyth is my favorite, otherwise championship snooker.

              1. Librarian Guy

                Chapo Trap House is great . . . mostly Marxist orientation, but comedic and fun, lots of good cultural signifiers as well. (Kim Stanley Robinson, Alan Moore, HP Lovecraft, etc.)

                The deconstructions of right wing crap (Rod Dreher’s exorcism stories, Federalist spaghetti throws against the wall) is usually funny. They also have the occasional pure, comedy-free interview like the recent Naomi Kline interview on her new environment/ apocalypse (?) book. Nearly always worth a listen.

                Lots of reasons to despise Mayo Pete Buttigieg, but their first take on his “tiny hamster teeth” made me laugh.

    1. Wukchumni

      There was only one catch and that was Catch-22 amendment, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind.

    2. Procopius

      I don’t know who george bush jr. is. From your mention of Compassionate Conservative I suppose you mean George W. Bush, who was the 43rd President and arguably the worst President America ever had. I believe he was. At least you didn’t use one of the kindergarten level “clever” nicknames. Thank you for that.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        george P bush

        that dynasty, although considerably weakened(trump smacks jeb), still writhes in the darkness.
        george P(can we just call him P, yet?) appears to be a nothingburger compared to GHW, and just a different kind of crosseyed from Lil George(“W”).
        i was married to a fifth cousin of that bunch for about 4 years…even the blacksheep side of the Family is manipulative and crazy.
        at this rate, 20 years from now there’ll be a bush scion clamoring about his “station” in front of a walgreens somewhere.

  4. dearieme

    But I’ve worked in liberal media long enough to know where its interests lie. … No one makes stuff up, but a pervasive semiotics

    Is there anyone left who believes that “No one makes stuff up”? Or does he perhaps mean that the liberal media doesn’t itself make stuff up but instead carries uncritically stuff made up for it by others?

    1. Mike

      dearieme, you’ve said something I can agree to – and it’s a very good question. I would pose the answer as they both make it up, and the media will always agree with the intelligence (ahem…).

    2. Darius

      Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

      Also, a lot is about what and who to cover. Like ignoring Sanders.

      Of course the uncorrected mistakes that all go one way.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Is there anyone left who believes that “No one makes stuff up”? Or does he perhaps mean that the liberal media doesn’t itself make stuff up but instead carries uncritically stuff made up for it by others?

      I think with RussiaGate the liberal Democrats went over some sort of event horizon; see, e.g., Clinton’s viciously defamatory comments about Gabbard. I don’t see how they get back.

      So yes, I think that Richard Goldstein is a little behind the times on this one.

      1. Librarian Guy

        Agreed, the LibDem Establishment more than joined the ReThugs in fantasizing bullshit, see Reagan’s “Welfare Queens” stories and “strapping young bucks buying steaks and booze” with food stamps.

        On the other hand, the Deep State CIA had been doing that for a long time, and certainly people like Westmoreland and McNamara used the government to spread all kinds of absurd disinfo going back 50+ years (the North Vietnamese cannot replace all the Charlies we’re killing in the field, they’ll give up next year, “light at the end of the tunnel”). McNamara was a “good liberal”, JFK admin was mildly pro-Civil Rights, after all. And the Dems in the late 60s likely spread stories like Timothy Leary will be spiking your local water supply with enough LSD to make your whole town trip.

        So maybe the older practices just became thoroughly widespread with the rise of Clintonian triangulation and emulating their Duopoly “opponents” best practices.

  5. Mattski

    “But it also completely changes the importance of the impeachment procedure in the House. When the House committee will find evidence for the quid pro quo deal, which seems near certain at this point, many people, and particularly most Republicans, will respond much more blasé. “We already knew that.”

    EXACTLY. A confident and decisive Dem leadership seizes the moment and impeaches now. They’re already let a news cycle pass without seizing the reins.

    Re: a Bloomberg candidacy. That just MIGHT divvy the ruling class vote and put Warren in. Depending how America’s feeling that day, I suppose. C’mon, recession?

  6. NotTimothyGeithner

    So Hillary is accusing a veteran of one of Hillary’s wars of being a traitor…that should play well…Team Clinton, they sure do know politics…

    1. EricT

      I think that ranks up there with what Musk said about the diver who helped rescue those children in Thailand stuck in the cave. The relationships between the words is uncanny.

      Male rescue personnel saving children — Army veteran serving their country
      Accused of Pedophile — Accused of being a Traitor

      I think Tulsi Gabbard should sue Clinton, as a Major in the Army reserve, the accusation is potentially damaging to her career and her commission.

      I agree with Caitlin Johnson’s article regarding the outrage in the increasing use of accusing someone of being a Russian asset if they don’t agree with the intelligence communities agenda. I thought we had learned our lessons on McCarthyism years ago.

        1. Procopius

          No, or at least not an American military court subject to the Universal Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). That’s one of the reasons the “military tribunals” Cheney wanted to set up have never worked. How many cases have they completed? Eight?

    2. urblintz

      I find it absolutely stunning, no matter what one thinks of Gabbard’s politics, that it is Democrats and their “liberal” media shills who are positing a “manchurian candidate” smear campaign against one of their own, a fellow Democrat who has managed to stand out from the crowd. She’s right. It’s despicable (and I wager some version of it will be used against Sanders should he surprise the pollsters again in the primaries). Yet more evidence that the dangerous and indeed racist (Clapper: “Russians are genetically predetermined to,,,,”) anti-Russia xenophobia infecting a majority of USians is the creation of deranged leaders in the Democratic party. They have successfully transformed into the congressional arm of the CIA, FBI and the National Security apparatus, having long played bagman for the Pentagon (most recently to the tune of $1.4 trillion). That the Republicans joined in the fun, resulting in the now bi-partisan requirement to blame “the” Russians for every evil imaginable, has assured the lie is codified into american culture for a long time. How long did the last cold war last?

      1. polecat

        So …. it’s Despicables to the ‘Left’ of us, Deplorables to the ‘Right’ … here we are, sucked in the middle of Poo !

        I have half, of a half of mind, to send Tulsi some serious rain gear and galoshes.

        *With apologies to Steeler’s Wheel …

        1. urblintz

          I appreciate the intent of your comment, but I resigned from the Democratic party during Bill Clinton’s first campaign, when he stopped it to oversee the execution of Ricky Rector. Those scales fell from my eyes decades ago. My comment was specifically about the patent absurdity of anyone, let alone the Democratic leadership, positing a Russian plant running for president and the very real danger these deranged anti-Russia fantasies pose. It is beyond ridiculous and indeed, despicable. I won’t be voting for Gabbard but I will be defending her (and anyone) from the damnably malign actions of Clinton, the DNC and their paid media stooges.

          1. Tom Stone

            Urblintz, I am well aware of how crazy it has become.
            A musician friend has had vanity plate reading Trumptr1 for 20 years or so, he gave them up this month.
            There have been a number of incidents since the election, they have become more frequent and much uglier recently.

        2. carl

          It’s like peeling an onion. There’s layers and layers of betrayal, lying, cheating, slippery candidates, and the inevitable hectoring to vote for the anointed one. It takes awhile.

      2. Tom Doak

        It’s just a card being played to ensure that even in the unlikely event of a Sanders (or Warren?) victory in the general, this allegation will prevent Tulsi from being confirmed for any Cabinet position.

    3. Duke of Prunes

      I rarely read politics on reddit, but dropped into a thread about this Clinton / Tulsi thing. All I can say, is wow, just wow. RussiaRussiaRussia!!! is very alive and well.

      All pro-Tulsi posts are from Russia. The moderators who allow pro-Tulsi comments are influenced by Russia. Further proof: Tusli is the conservatives’ favorite Dem. After all, she was on Tucker Carlson’s show and Breitbart (both well known Russian propaganda conduits) has posted about her. Someone was aghast the he/she saw Tusli signs in “poor neighborhoods” (gee… where do our soldiers come from?)… the only logical conclusion was Russia + Facebook.

      I’m a little too young to remember much about the Russia/Commie/Red scare (caught the end of Vietnam and the “space race”), but it seems to be alive and well other there.

      1. Tom Denman

        Hillary Clinton’s paranoid rambling, in which she makes the unfounded allegation that Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein are Russian assets [1], reminds me of why I was forced to vote for Donald Trump in 2016.

        Despite Trump’s stupidity and artless corruption, I can at least sleep at nights knowing that a delusional warmonger like Hillary Clinton is not in charge of our nuclear arsenal.

        [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/10/18/hillary-clinton-suggests-putin-has-kompromat-trump-russians-will-back-tulsi-gabbard-third-party-bid/

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            This Game of Thrones riff is one of the better responses. It contains Gabbard’s original tweet:

            Good for Gabbard, say I. (Incidentally, Gabbard may face a primary challenger. This is odd, since IIRC challengers are verboten in the Democrat Party, and the DCCC has promised to blackball any campaign shops that work for them. It may be — follow me closely, here — that the DCCC’s principles are more elastic than they would appear at first sight.)

        1. John

          The question for me is, why does Clinton keep mouthing off like that?

          No one wants to hear from her. Trump may yet find a way to “Lock Her Up!”

          What doesn’t she just shut up?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            No! Let her keep talking!

            Let everyone smell the truth of what today’s Democratic Party is and stands for. Let everyone smell the Clinton Sewage at the middle of it all.

            Let her stink up the joint badly enough that millions of ordinary Democrats come to understand what a Primary Cancer she is and that she and every one of her Daughter Cell Metastasites will have to be destroyed.

            If she just shuts up too soon, such understanding will not be deeply and broadly enough gained.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > why does Clinton keep mouthing off like that

            Clinton still has a constituency within the Party, and HillaryLand is still an important network.

            As I said, Clinton wants to be a power broker for 2020. If she can take down Gabbard, she’ll go for somebody more powerful next.

      2. Mike

        Actually, Duke, it was only this bad in the early 50s, when McCarthy was scaring the bejeesus out of kindergardeners and old ladies (and unions, too). By the late 60s the war of the worlds had settled into a communications link by red phone to ensure we would not do anything rash. We talked to the Chinese, Russians, Vietnamese after the war there, and our population almost slept through the remaining cold war.

        Now, this poor weak nation cannot defend itself from some Russian hackers who supposedly infiltrated over 3000 county voting machines and stole Hillary’s lunch… and convinced a military patriot to betray her country. Meanwhile, Hillary rakes in foreign cash and supports a Reagan-era set of policies that made alliance with Gorbachev. Her own party could yell traitor to her.

      3. arte

        I am utterly astonished that so much effort is spent on attacking Gabbard. By the numbers, she has remained a minor candidate, and the only thing that the continual smearing does is keep her name in the news.

        The only remotely reasonable explanation I can come up with is that the Democrat establishment really, really wants to hound Gabbard out of the race before the actual voting starts – no “surprise” bounces in the first primaries this time around, thank you very much!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I am utterly astonished that so much effort is spent on attacking Gabbard. By the numbers, she has remained a minor candidate, and the only thing that the continual smearing does is keep her name in the news.

          The wolf pack picks off the weak. That’s why Clinton went for a minor candidate first.

          1. JBird4049

            Gabbard, being military herself, with her anti-forever war focus, is arguably the most dangerous candidate to the Military Industry. Yes, she is otherwise a more conventional candidate especially to lower, non-credentialed class Americans, who tend to be more unpleasantly affected by the various wars. This making her a more “credible” and acceptable candidate who would use a victory to kill it. Sanders. even Warren somewhat, are still dangerous, but as not vets do not have the ant-war, even anti-security state cred that Gabbard has.

            Also, she could become a member of the next Democratic administration, which would also allow her to hammer at the filth, greed, and blood that now run the whole war and security industry. Thinking longer than the next quarter means weakening any potentially effective reformers who do not have to be in the Oval Office.

            She is much too conservative for me, but if Hillary Clinton, her minions, and their allies are willing to spend so much effort to destroy her, I am putting her on my list of alternate possible candidates to vote for. Most of the Democratic Party, especially the DNC, is effectively evil and President Trump is good only as a protest vote. His nauseating, bullying, buffoonery and corruption are only barely acceptable because of his aspect as less evil than G. W. Bush and Obama were and H. Clinton would very probably be. Someone like Gabbard would be an extremely acceptable replacement.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              I imagine that the Kagan Klan & the rest of the Neocons are also worried about Gabbard, particularly as Syria has turned into a failure, the Iranians appear to too large a nettle to grasp & Nuland’s work in Ukraine appears to be unraveling while Trump tweets about ending forever wars.

              I guess that Clinton is only really preaching to the converted & perhaps it will rebound & hopefully at some stage she will be ignored & left to stew in her own rancid juices. The hawks appear to be perched on an increasingly fragile edifice & the cracks are showing – I certainly hope so anyhow.

        2. NotReallyHere

          FWIW I am beginning to believe that Tulsi’s Campaign will get a lot of traction in the coming months and that scares the bejeepers out of the Dems.

          Reasons are:

          Bernie’s heart attack is a big problem for his young supporters and they are beginning to say if not Bernie then who.

          I saw the first Tulsi yard sign here in deepest Bernie country the other day. And I have seen maybe 3 Tulsi bumper stickers.

          22 year-old Daughter’s friends – all Bernie people till now – are beginning to talk about her. Interestingly, they hate Trump but will acknowledge that the Dems are sabotaging him with Meuller etc. they say imagine what they’d do to a weaker Bernie if this is the stuff they pull on Trump.

          All anecdotal, of course.

    4. Eureka Springs

      Surely old Mad. A. will be reminding HRC of that “special place in hell” any minute now.

      1. chuckster

        I took a lot of grief from my friends when I told them I voted for Trump because he was the lesser evil. I was right then and I would do it all over again. I hope to God she runs again. I voted against her in 2008. I voted against her in the 2016 primary and I voted against her in November 2016. I will gladly vote against her again.

        1. JBird4049

          Surely we can do better than President Trump. I am a freaking socialist who finds most of the Democratic line up painful to even see. So painful that Trump is almost less unbearable. Yet, there have been Republicans in the past who I would find more acceptable over most of the current Democratic candidates. I would not want to vote for any Republican candidates mind you, but I seem to recall one or two decent candidates. And there were previous elections with half way decent Democratic candidates.

          What does it say that every election cycle brings out ever more vacuous, faithless, corrupt, and often morally bankrupt people regardless of party or purported ideology. 330 million Americans of which maybe ¼ could be President and these are our choices?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Political parties grow and change over time and never stay the same. They even degenerate and sometimes even disappear. You were talking about Republicans in the past who you would find more acceptable. Consider this. If Ronnie Reagan could come back to 2019 and be at his peak, the present Republicans would not tolerant his ‘liberal’ beliefs and his willingness to negotiate with Moscow but would primary him and throw him out of the party.

  7. NotTimothyGeithner

    Sloppy staffwork!

    Dismissive staff work. Buttigieg and other neoliberals don’t give a damn enough to care about these kinds of things. Even the competent among them would mess this up.

  8. Phacops

    Yes, worried Sanders supporter here. Been plugging Sanders here in Michigan while I go around seeing if people who seldom get to the polls would like to apply for permanent absentee balloting (new law).

    I hate to think of another national election where my only choice will be to vote Green. Warren, to me, seems like another Obama, who sells hopium only to grease the wheels for wealth and power. And, the Democrats here in Michigan still only think that Hillary’s loss is more about messaging than actual policy.

    1. dcrane

      Another worried Sanders voter here. Have seen too many elections in which candidates promised to motivate the nonvoters, to be able to place my faith in the idea that a poll-invisible revolution is happening. And I don’t believe Warren can win nationally.

      If Sanders doesn’t begin attacking the Democrat establishment (and his main competitor Warren) more sharply soon, he will miss the window again.

      Is there anyone Gabbard could plausibly hook up with on the right, to form a triangulating 3rd party effort with half a chance?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Have seen too many elections in which candidates promised to motivate the nonvoters, to be able to place my faith in the idea that a poll-invisible revolution is happening.

        That is indeed to the issue. Presumably, the Sanders campaign has internals (and I don’t think number of calls made, or number of doors knocked, is an adequate proxy for turning non-voters into voters. I’m not sure donations are, either. Giving $27 online is not at all the same as collecting your friends, driving to the polls, and fighting with the Democrat functionaries that want to deny you your vote).

        That said, for the current “narrative” of Warren in the ascendancy, Sanders stuck in third (or non-existent):

        1) You have to believe the poll surveys are not gamed. But they are gamed.

        2) You have to believe that the pollsters’ models are accurate. But they are inaccurate.

        3) You have to believe that the pollsters disinterested, and not political players. But they are political players.

        4) You have to believe that the press is reporting the polling accurately. But the press is almost completely untrustworthy.

        And to accept that the vote tallies are accurate:

        5) You have to believe that Democrats don’t commit election fraud. But they do commit election fraud.

        DCBlogger is right, the only way forward for Sanders is to come to the polls in overwhelming numbers. It’s only three months or so to Iowa, the first test, and we see no signs of that. But would we?

        1. JBird4049

          Any decent investigation into the gaming of the polls? I know that none of the mainstream news media is likely, but what about small investigations?

          Then again I am taking some statistics next semester. Ick. Still, maybe I could do some research myself then.

    2. David Carl Grimes

      Sanders seems stuck in a rut. His message has been diluted because of Warren’s embrace and extend policy appropriation strategy. Maybe there really is a ceiling to Sanders and he nearly won the primaries in 2016 because Hillary was totally unlikeable and wooden.

      I’m beginning to think that his fundraising prowess is really from a very fervent and energetic base that gives a lot of money but does not seem to be growing.

      Sanders still plays too nice even though his opponents don’t play by the rules. I saw this in 2016 when he waved off Hillary’s email problem away. If he had gone for the jugular and said that other people had gone to jail for doing similar things, that would have killed her right there. He could have said that we can’t have two legal systems: one for the rich and powerful and one for the poor.

      He could have said the same thing about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. How would it look if Don Junior got a board seat on Gazprom while Trump is President? Wouldn’t Democrats be screaming their heads off about it?

      Sanders is playing too nice, too safe. At this point, he has nothing to lose. If he doesn’t become President in 2020, he will never become President. Trump became President because he broke things, by saying the quiet parts out loud – like the Iraq War was a total disaster right in front of Jeb Bush. Jeb died on that stage that night and never recovered. Why can’t Sanders do the same? He might even win some Republicans to his side.

      If Warren or Biden becomes the nominee, Trump will win for sure. A second Trump term will be bad for the environment, workers, and students. The good news will be that the Democratic Party will finally die off and its progressive wing will be forced to break away and form their own party. But it’s going to be a long process and I’m not so sure I and the rest of the country can stand another four years of Trump.

      I think Jimmy Dore has the right idea.


        1. notabanker

          Yeah, I agree, and no one is going to “see” anything else until the first polls close. There won’t be a Sanders uprising, the corporate owners have crushed the ability for it to gain any public visibility.

        2. Mike

          If his message is that I am going to keep good relations with these friends of mine, then he will not win the nomination. If his message is that he will not talk about the deep corruption in the party, and turn away from strong criticism of its antics that work against him, he is sunk.

          There is still time – maybe after the debate circus is over, he might go visit the southern states where his defeat was sealed by Hillary’s fraud and lack of knowledge of his program down there. But he must delineate his stance from the rest sharply if he wants the Presidency. On the other hand, if all he wants is to pass healthcare and tuition legislation, and raise wages some, then he’s got a chance – but a slim one without the bully pulpit.

      1. Carey

        >Jeb died on that stage that night and never recovered. Why can’t Sanders do the same?

        My guess its that the Left gets kneecapped for doing what the right and the faux-centrists do all the time. Sanders may have gotten some version of The Talk.
        He’s the best we got, and looked and sounded good in the last debate.

        The organizing’s the thing.

      2. HotFlash

        I’m beginning to think that his fundraising prowess is really from a very fervent and energetic base that gives a lot of money but does not seem to be growing.

        But you see, small dollars from lots of *voters* translates to lots of *votes*. Why would somebody cough up their $27 or $18 (I have read that this is the current average per donor) or whatever and not find the energy to mosey to the polls come Nov 2020? I think of small donor tallies as a pretty reliable poll of ‘very likely’ voters. Therefore, the biggest hurdle will be theDem primary — which will, of course, be totally fair and honest.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I think of small donor tallies as a pretty reliable poll of ‘very likely’ voters.

          I think you are correct, but if there’s a 1:1 relation between small donations and votes then Sanders loses, since his numbers aren’t there.

          I think the way to think about this is that there is some sort of “multiplier.” For example, if the relation is 1:2, does Sanders win? 1:4? What does it have to be? From there, you can reason to the sort of social relations needed to get to the multiplier. If the multiplier is 2, then a donor communicating their enthusiasm — through the app? — to their circle of friends and family might be enough. If the multiplier is 4, then it might take organizing a “poll party” and driving to the polls with friends in a car. (Probably people can come up with better ideas than this, I’m only spitballing.)

          If winning the Iowa caucuses takes 50 school buses full of voters, can the Sanders campaign deliver on that? (Each bus would need an expert on caucus procedure, a floor manager, and their own coin for the flip ;-)

          1. dk

            The thing about donations is that they are a sunk cost that can drive votes. But in a primary, one may have to be party registered to cast a primary ballot. Also, some contributors may be willing to click a link but too busy or lazy (or nervous) to go through the voting process. So there isn’t even 1:1 strictly speaking.

            The multiplier idea is certainly reasonable, and almost certainly applies to sentiment in a social context, but again doesn’t translate into actual votes at a consistent rate. In my experience (tried exactly that in 2004 and variations since), the effective (net vote) spread is very low without follow-up from the field (door-knocks, phone calls, some further form of direct engagement from *outside* the social circle). Many current tools like NationBuilder have built-in support for this kind of networking.

            Sander, and to a lesser extent Warren, are both running large field-first campaigns. These kinds of operations target (target as a verb) based on the campaign’s direct goals, which can often be very different from a pollster’s “Likely Voter” targets, no matter how reasonably those pollster targets may be constructed. (I myself have avoided looking too closely into Bernie’s (or anybody’s) strategies, comments here are general).

            The pollsters simply can’t identify campaign field targets (without leakage from a campaigns which does occasionally happen but can make the leak-receiving pollsters results seem skewed compared to the field) and further, they may not (probably don’t) fall into the 6% that pollsters currently reach (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/ ).

            Railway workers:

            A rally:

            1. dk

              I had a trick back in the day that worked fairly well for my clients, but that didn’t get much traction with other consultants because it doesn’t leverage social media. I looked at cohabiting voters in mixed party households, and low propensity (“occasional”) voters living with high-pro voters. I used this to prioritize (a lone 1/3 Dem doesn’t get chased as hard as 2/2 Dem household, etc) and to dig out more targets (Dem occasionals live with a hi-pro Yes? call/GOTV them all!) I used something like this in 2000 in NM to garner an extra 2500 contact-to-GOTV targets when they flew me in for the last 10 days of the Gore campaign. See little blue New Mexico in a field of red here? https://www.270towin.com/2000_Election/
              A great field team converted 2638 new targets to 1728 additional votes and we made it by 366 votes. (Our star field organizer is now NM Secretary of State and running for the Senate https://www.maggietoulouseoliverforsenate.com/, give her a look, she’s the real deal).

              In Kerry 2004 the DNC rationale was to a) use family/friends/neighbor-to-neighbor social networks to drive turn out, while b) not spending on outreach beyond the registered Dem “base”. If that sounds iffy, it was, Kerry lost. Especially annoying since my and other (rogue) internal polls showed extraordinarily weak support for Bush among registered GOP (6% No(?!?) and 28% undecided on a straight-cold question, no “fake-poll” contextualization, that’s 34% on an own incumbent, and Mary Beth Cahill had me fired twice for saying we should talk to Reps in mixed households).

      3. Tom Stone

        Biden may be corrupt, but at least he’s senile.
        A reprise of Reagan in his second run without the “Charm”.

      4. The Rev Kev

        I saw another Jimmy Dore where he was pulling his hair out because Sanders was giving softball answers to hard question like the one from Biden demanding to know how you will pay for healthcare in the last debate. Sanders completely screwed it up when he could have put Biden down once and for all-


      5. Librarian Guy

        I’d hold my nose and vote for Warren, but am pretty sure she would be Obama-style timid (non) “reform”, nice speeches and NO progress for worker rights, income inequality, or anything else, and then we get Joe Cotton or Gym Jordan and Trump Redux in 2024 with a younger lunatic running the show, perhaps less erratically?

        I’d enthusiastically vote for Bernie, but agree with the post that he’s playing it “too safe”, a little more direct truth-telling wouldn’t hurt him in the least, it’s how he pushed the Overton Window within the Demo party the small increment leftward it has moved– which is why the Donor Base and Clintonians hate him and brought in the Warren stalking horse, weak tea version if they can’t install a full on NeoLib (Cop Kamala, Cory RX Pharmco Booker, Pile o’ Midwestern Blandness Klobuchar).

        I think Gabbard is the best Dem running on foreign policy, am glad that there’s someone who’s actually anti-Imperialist and assume that her military background might’ve inspired that. I don’t think she has a snowball’s chance in hell to get the nomination, & in the almost impossible scenario she got the nomination I’d have to factor in her past vicious, hateful homophobia before voting for her . . . well, we don’t live in the timeline where I’ll ever have to debate voting for her anyway.

        This morning on Eschaton some morons started running with the “Tulsi will be the 3rd Party (Russian) candidate to give Trump the election . . . ” I teased these idiots lightly with the far more likely prospect that if Bernie or even Liz gets the nomination, Bloomberg will jump in to give Trump the Election . . . Russia’s economy is smaller than Italy’s and Putin is NOT a kingmaker, any sane person should realize, but American voters are extremely stupid and small minded, as we all know.

        1. Librarian Guy

          And given everything stated above, it was Trump v. Biden (or Harris, Buttigieg, Beto, Booker etc.) in 20, & Gabbard ran 3rd party (highly unlikely) I’d definitely voter for her rather than the other 2 “choices” . . . but, ain’t gonna happen, imho.

          I did vote Jill Stein in 16 as I could not vote for NeoCon $Hillary nor White Nationalist Donald. Stein was the only candidate whose positions on issues somewhat resembled my own. And I have few illusions that my one vote matters, anyhow.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      I think Warren is much, much better than Obama. For starters she’s hated by the oligarchs because unlike Obama she’s not willing to sell herself cheap. And unlike Obama she’s not a con artist who ran left and governed as a Republican.

      Warren is navigating a very dangerous political environment. The oligarchs will simply not allow and independent President to rule again. Sanders and Trump have been wake-up calls to tighten the reins. They forced the mainstream media to give up any appearance of objectivity where even formerly independent outlets have been forced to spout the Central Committee’s propaganda lines to a degree I have never seen before. Fortunately for them most citizens really want to be told what to think and do–Warren understands this so she’s engaging in the game as best she can.

      My impression is that most people just tired of the perpetual crises–unfortunately Biden is not going to work as a candidate once the scrutiny increases. Buttigieg would be ideal but he’s gay and America isn’t ready for that. So maybe someone new can come in.

        1. Carey

          Adding: Many of the “crises” you mention are manufactured because Trump!; and the real crises won’t be going away just because people are tired of them.

          Sanders 2020

        1. Chris

          Don’t you dare smear my favorite comic with sludge from this wretched never ending election :p

          Although, HRC as Anton Arcane could work…

      1. Dreams of Cheese

        In what way is Buttigieg the ideal democratic nominee, I am truly interested? Ideal because he takes corporate money? What policy stances does he have that are equal to or superior to Sanders, or even Warren? What did I miss?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I think Warren is much, much better than Obama.

        I think Warren has baggage that Obama did not have (Obama being, as Joe Biden put it, “clean” and “articulate”). I don’t see the country voting to put a Harvard professor in office, particularly one with a history of changing her stories.

        1. Rod

          “It’s not him, it’s us.”
          4 weeks ago-before the stents- he said this multiple times at an event I was at. Emphatically.
          It is a bottom line truth that many do not own yet-imo.

    4. Krystyn Walentka

      Worried about Sanders also. I cannot for THE LIFE OF ME figure out why Biden is in the lead. I can understand Warren since she is a delicate tiptoe in the socialistic water, but Biden?

      I have no doubt it is related to Facebook ad spending. Biden leads all in Facebook spending. This is more dystopian than I imagined. People think they are not influenced by Facebook but there it is. So the Sanders campaign better step it up. They have several viral worthy videos, they just do not spend enough. The Trump campaign spend 50% more than Clinton’s in 2016.

      1. anon y'mouse

        more like a Biden appeals to people who barely know what F_c_book is, and don’t use it even if they do know. the scared retiree, or almost retiree who wants a return to normalcy.

        the same kind that Warren looks good to, as a Plan B.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Don’t underestimate the attraction of Facebook for the aged. It’s actually the only cohort I know of that still use that site regularly.

          For example, my very old and dear mother reads it constantly but can’t tell the ads from the “messages” she gets in her feed. She actually thinks people’s posts are directly to her, no matter how much you try to explain how it works.

          It’s a nightmare. The thing should be burned to fine white ash and buried in a cement block.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . she did engineer that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into existence, despite opposition from Geithner and perhaps Geithner’s Obama as well.

      So there’s that.

  9. DJG

    Ahh, yes, the polling and the punditing today point us in a worrisome direction: The Democrats are preparing to lose the election. But there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. It will all be the fault of the Bulgarians or the Kashubians. There will be memoirs and book tours with expensive tickets.

    Meanwhile, in the land beyond rinky-dink, Alex P. Keaton strikes again: It isn’t just Boot Edge Edge’s staff who ought to know the background of those sponsoring events. Chicago is the nearest major city to South Bend–the other end of the South Shore Railroad. If Mayor Peter can’t figure how to navigate Chicago politics, as focused on outcomes as he is, he isn’t going to do well nationally.

    And someone is being very very diplomatic here:

    “The worst case scenario is his people know and they just don’t care, or they don’t know and haven’t vetted him thoroughly,” said Charlene Carruthers, former head of Black Lives Matter group BYP100, which was instrumental in pushing for police reforms in the wake of the McDonald case.

    “If they do know, it’s indicative of so much of what we see with folks in the LGBTQ community — particularly white men who may hold a sexual identity, but their politics don’t line up with the liberation of the people who are also in community with them.”

    This is something that a lot of us have been hinting at. Well, I haven’t exactly been hinting. But Carruthers slices through the hype around Mayor No There There.

    1. Tom Stone

      I’m not worried about Sanders in California based on what I experienced in the 2016 Primary.
      I have “No Party Preference” which makes me an independent voter.
      Independent voters in CA skewed heavily toward Bernie.
      I showed up at my polling place and asked for a crossover ballot.
      Not available.
      I was told I could vote with a provisional ballot if I wanted to vote.
      I called the County Registrar and was told crossover ballots weren’t available for my County, a provisional ballot was just as good.
      Watch the You-tube titled “Uncounted” to find out just how good it was.

      I no longer have a polling place, I live rural and it’s by mail only…

    2. Librarian Guy

      Haven’t lived in Chicago since 1980, but had many friends in poor, backward Indiana . . . Mayo Pete was extremely accomplished at financially (as opposed to purely ethnically) cleansing his city, from what I have read, driving out the poors with zoning and “annoyance” fines if their house wasn’t spic and span enough, and bringing in the Betters of the Professional Classes, making the town whiter as well as richer-looking.

      No wonder the political elites love him! Not sure how that transfers to national leadership . . . maybe he could start driving the Poors and unworthy out in a reverse financial cleansing, forcing them to emigrate to Mexico or the poorer parts of Canada?

  10. anon in so cal

    Re: Biden and Ukraine:

    “Apparently Hunter Biden was getting paid $83,333 per month from the Ukrainian oligarch, rather than $50k/month, for work described as “ceremonial”—at a time when the average Ukrainian was making $200-$300 per month.”




    ““A career State Department official overseeing Ukraine policy told congressional investigators this week that he had raised concerns in early 2015 about then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son…but was turned away by a Biden staffer””



  11. Hepativore

    I am also worried. Biden is still hanging around like a stale, lingering, fart that refuses to drift away. Sanders needs to also start demonstrating to the otherwise naive public on how different from Warren he really is, and how Warren has revealed herself to be a massive hypocrite on many issues. However, this is easier said than done, because the identitarian crowd and mainstream news outlets would love to use that as an opportunity to smear Sanders and his supporters as horrible misogynist “Bernie Bros” beating up on “poor defenseless Warren”.

    I do realize that there is a possibility of Sanders getting a bump in the polls as there are still quite a few candidates in the Democratic race that need to be pruned out. However, I somehow do not think that the people who are currently supporting Harris, Buttigieg, or Klobuchar would be the types that would throw their lot in behind Sanders when those candidates drop out.

    1. Donald

      “ However, this is easier said than done, because the identitarian crowd and mainstream news outlets would love to use that as an opportunity to smear Sanders and his supporters as horrible misogynist “Bernie Bros” beating up on “poor defenseless Warren”“

      You have identified precisely the reason why Sanders should not attack Warren. If he does, he loses.

      1. jrs

        I think Sanders might not attack mostly because he would be ok with a Warren presidency especially if he doesn’t win. Not all of his supporters would of course, but I think he himself might, and yes a Warren presidency *might* turn out to be an error in judgement.

        And if so, why would he weaken her? Remember he wanted Warren to run before. Winning at any costs is Trump’s game not everyone’s. It might be Warren’s game, but that may not speak well of her.

  12. mrsyk

    Pete Buttigieg cooking up bold, new policy ideas that will help normal working people.
    In a non-stick pan of course.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks very much for this; I think I had a buffer overflow, there is so much going on.

      Yes, the dude’s bio is the key. It’s wonderfully clarifying that the intelligence community is now openly “meddling” in domestic politics (and working to “secure” the voting systems, too, let us remember. Not that I’m foily).

  13. Mike

    Re: “Diplomat tells investigators he raised alarms in 2015 about Hunter Biden’s Ukraine work but was rebuffed” (WaPo): Lambert Quote – “what Trump should have done was hire a law firm (Republican equivalent of Perkins Coie), to hire a cut-out (Republican equivalent of Fusion GPS), to hire an intelligence community-adjacent foreign oppo researcher (Republican equivalent of Steele), to get to the truth of the matter, dag nab it, and then route it through appropriate channels, including anonymously to the press. Instead, being Trump, he cut out all the layers indirection and got crass.”

    I posted the same remark on the phone calls before. It seems to me that Trump is exhibiting the classical pairing of isolation and paranoia – he can’t trust anyone to do exactly as he says, for obvious reasons of his Presidential history (its constant churning of officials that were examples of lack of trust or lack of obedience, with new hires woke to the method), so he turns to the one person that he does trust – himself, and at that moment his isolation becomes a threat to his office and his reelection. This is always done behind the scenes, hidden, not from the nations we try to “convince”, but from us, so we can sleep better.

    Reminds me of the Jimmy Carter syndrome – it appeared that, outside of Brzezinski, his circle of advisors was not in agreement with either his aims or methods, so his workload got too heavy for any success. That, and of course Reagans undercutting of him with Iran and the hostages. It was really lucky for Reagan that the heliopter rescue mission failed… maybe lucky for the Democrats that Ukrainegate is Trump’s “rescue mission”.

    1. rowlf

      Wasn’t the problem Carter and Reagan faced in Washington DC was that the locals thought they were interlopers and thus had a hard time getting good people to be staff in their administrations? Is Trump’s problem that a position with him has been shown to be a career kiss of death?

      1. Mike

        That was part of it, and interestingly, he did not fill positions with candidates because the Dems were not rushing to his aid. While a member of the CFR, Carter was an outlier within that group of America firsters, being known for independent thinking. His administration repeatedly got the “cut that out” message.

    2. pretzelattack

      the democrats were constantly working to undermine him, too. tip oneill liked reagan, otoh. it wasn’t so obvious that it was one club, then, though people like gore vidal had been pointing it out for a long time.
      reagan got good press, for the most part, another factor. the nyt hated carter iirc.

      and leave us not forget biden helping the republicans in the october surprise inquiry. nothing to see here, moving right along.

      1. Mike

        Yes, I almost forgot the Dem side of the equation. A long time ago, some writer actually questioned whether the “rescue mission” was not purposefully scuttled to allow the Reagan deal – i.e., military and intelligence allies of Reagan acted, or failed to act properly, to ensure his “victory” in getting the hostages released. The theory was that could not have succeeded without some Dems knowing and OKing such a plan. At the time, I and almost everyone thought that was too conspiratorial to believe. Now, it seems like a novel torn from real life.

  14. BoyDownTheLane

    If “feet loaf” were made with some of that new Hamburg-made-of-vegetables, I’d offer it up to my Mayflower descendant Masonic in-laws for Thanksgiving.

      1. Duck1

        I was getting an ad this morning “Next plant based unicorn!”, and was wondering who had gotten a taste for unicorn flesh.

  15. pretzelattack

    re the stoller article on hamilton the musical:
    i think he misspelled “unsurprising”.

    “Hamilton’s name practically became an epithet among Democrats of the New Deal era, which makes it all the more surprising that he is the darling of the modern party.”

  16. Monty

    Extinction Rebellion and public transport.

    If you want them to take your protest seriously, you have to start imposing costs for non compliance. Like Gordon Ramsay says, “Shut it down!”.
    If you are truly convinced the world needs saving, then shutting down public transport in London, and other acts of civil disobedience make perfect sense from a utilitarian perspective.
    Probably less police at Canning Town, but disrupting there still disrupts Banker HQ at Canary Wharf too.

    1. jrs

      The thing is they’ve shut down a very wide array of things, so focusing on this is really missing the big picture. But I do question the choice of this target.

    2. notabanker

      It’s not just “public transport”. Anyone who has ridden the Jubilee or DLR would know better than to pick a fight in Canning Town. It’s just a really stupid decision

      1. Monty


        Totally disagree. This is presented by the MSM as an opportunity for you to roll your eyes at people who literally believe the world is ending. You took the bait.

        1. notabanker

          Save your condescending preaching for someone who needs it, pal. Jumping on top of tube in Canning Town during rush hour is stupid.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Why public transport in particular? That is some of the most energy-efficient travel there is. The people who use it are some of the most no-other-options people there are. So why public transport in particular?

      I hope people start stealth-“video-doxing” the extinction rebellion people. Those of them who can be videoed driving private cars to their protest sites should have all the facts about their private car and its uses and their uses of it spread everywhere all over social media and the Reddit-sphere.

  17. toshiro_mifune

    Angry commuters clashed with climate protesters

    I don’t understand the point of this protest. These were people taking mass transit. Wouldn’t you want to protest the people driving into central London in cars? You know – the 7 series with a single person in it.

    1. Wukchumni

      By definition with the UK’s consistently iffy weather, wouldn’t most everybody in merry olde be a climate protester?

    2. Monty

      It’s not like I’m the US. Hardly anyone drives into Central London, almost everyone uses the tube. If they shut down the tube, they shut down the city. If they shut down the city, and keep it shut, the government might pay attention to their demands.

      1. jrs

        +1 Thanks for some perspective.

        Targeting say public transit in Los Angeles would be kind of stupid, what the minuscule fraction of the population that takes it, when everyone drives? I’d try to understand where they were coming from, but I would have wonder if any brain cells were firing if that happened. But this explanation makes sense.

        Also of course only focusing on this action is misleading, when they have previously shut down all bridges to Parliament etc.. They do a lot of blocking of roads etc., not just public transit, so it’s one thing in a MUCH LARGER context. It’s so misleading that I fully expect it all over right wing media.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Why is it that so many climate change activist see the solution as punishing poor people with little agency for change but will make friends with billionaires and give them a free pass? That they will support taxes on the little people but would never dare to suggest anything that will affect their billionaire buddies.
      You want an example? About a week or so ago some boofhead glued himself to the top of a passenger jet holding everybody up. In the US, Homeland Security would have taken him for a long question-answer session. But not once did that same boofhead say to himself that he should really glue himself to the top of a billionaire’s private jet to make a statement.

      1. Carey

        >Why is it that so many climate change activist see the solution as punishing poor people with little agency for change [?]

        Maybe they’re not what they appear to be (as with, oh, ‘antifa’, or ‘white helmets’)?
        Only guessing, for now.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps the boofhead was smart enough to know that he risked getting quietly taken somewhere and given the “Jamal Kashoggi” treatment if he dared to glue himself to a billionaires private jet.

        If we want to “reach out and touch” the billionaires, we are going to have to find some way to do it whereby they are not able to “reach out and touch” us back.

  18. Big River Bandido

    The author “served on the Democratic presidential campaigns for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Delaney.” You “serve” in the government or the military, not a political campaign, for pity’s sake.

    It was an internship and they served coffee. “Serve” is the only verb that would look good on a resume…while still having just enough truthiness to fly in Clintonworld.

    1. Librarian Guy

      Re “Serving” the Clintons.

      Read Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign— everyone who worked for her was terrified and servile, even her “closest” advisers like Huma Abedein. Hillary didn’t have to throw staplers or crockery at the subs who served her like Amy Klobuchar evidently does– the terror and degradation were purely psychological, the powerful lording it over the weak. And she pitted them against one another to improve their “performance”– which clearly damaged her campaign’s effectiveness with people undercutting and jockeying with one another to serve effectively.

  19. Dan

    If the Extinction Rebellion activists glued themselves to private jets, they would have a lot more effect on climate change:


    “the behavior of climate change activists, and of the corporate media and multinational business interests that fund and promote them so lavishly, makes sense only if you assume that they want everyone else to stop using fossil fuels so that they don’t have to….

    “…of all the foolish ideas that have emerged from the climate change debate is anything worse than a “green new deal”? corporations that made trillions damaging our habitat will now agree, for a few trillion more, to repair some of the damage they’ve done. the idea of ponying up trillions of dollars to pay general electric for wind turbines or bechtel for dams and power plant refits makes me ill. even exxon is on board with plans for capture and sequestration of some of the megatons of carbon they have inserted into the atmosphere….”

    1. Monty

      You believe one thing, they believe another. I’m agnostic. They believe they need to act and take it to the streets. I say ‘hat’s off to them’ for doing something to change things, instead of tweeting about it.

      1. Rod

        I tell people that some are protesting now. And more will be protesting later. And that even they will eventually start doing it. Humans will respond to threats to their survival–when they recognize them.

        I think the videos depict a population disrupted and responding–over their commute being disrupted–not the English food supply being disrupted. That video may not be available–yet.

  20. Barbara

    the fact that Trump’s support comes disproportionately from the affluent is seldom mentioned

    I belong to a suburban church where the majority of the congregation are Trump supporters. They aren’t MAGA people. They don’t go to Trump rallies, have Trump bumper stickers, or yard signs. They don’t talk about politics. But if you venture an innocent comment about the times we live in having only marginally to do with the public services and you know pretty quickly where they stand politically.

    They’re nice people – they really are. A lot of charity work. They give generously. In fact the biggest supporter of Trump is a man who is the president of the board of trustees of a non-profit serving homeless families. And, honestly, they do good work. And he raises a lot of money for them.

    There’s some kind of disconnect between how they behave on a daily basis and how they perceive politics.

    Why am I there? I’m a friend of the pastor. Every time I tell her that I don’t belong there, I see a fleeting look of panic that I’m going to abandon her.

    She’s retiring in a few years. When she moves on, so am I.

    1. John k

      Tough situation.
      Their political position is aligned with their perceived financial interest. Many will abandon trump in the next recession/market crash,

    2. cm

      the fact that Trump’s support comes disproportionately from the affluent is seldom mentioned

      I believe that statement is unsupported in the article. Instead, the article states:

      In the general election, Trump’s victory depended in part on the behavior of two groups — those who voted for Obama in 2012 and then for Trump in 2016; and those who hadn’t voted in 2012. Among both groups, limiting imports was an important policy preference in predicting switching to Trump.

      If we look at the Rust Belt states that supported Trump, I don’t see how those voters could be categorized as affluent. Aren’t the most affluent voters located in places like Manhattan, San Francisco and Seattle?

      To clarify, I’m not attacking Barbara, I am attacking the authors of this sloppy hit piece.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, Barbara is correct. What happened in the Rust Belt does not establish anything regarding Trump’s support nationally. It is an incontrovertible fact that the average income of Trump voters was markedly above Clinton voters, and higher than average household income. This has been written about regularly and we have mentioned this factoid often.

        See for instance: The Mythology Of Trump’s ‘Working Class’ Support:

        As compared with most Americans, Trump’s voters are better off. The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That’s lower than the $91,000 median for Kasich voters. But it’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.

        1. kiwi

          Averages. And what do we know about averages? That outer extremes can pull them up or down.

          “What happened in the Rust Belt does not establish anything regarding Trump’s support nationally”

          And what does anything nationally have to do with Trump’s support? Only electoral votes matter. According to some analyzers, Trump’s win came down to just a few counties here and there that swung for him, and the electoral votes in these states went to Trump.

    3. kiwi

      Maybe the disconnect is in your head and not with those people.

      It seems you believe that repubs are deplorable. Well, they are not. It is just that simple.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Have these same democrats demanded federal investigation of suspicious airlines stock sales which happened all-in-a-bunch just before the 9/11 attacks?

  21. freedomny

    So here’s what Tulsi G just said to Hillary Clinton on twitter:

    Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton
    . You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.

    And people are going absolutely crazy…

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      Reading that thread now…
      You know, I’ll say the same thing I told my wife back in ‘16; Trump doesn’t scare me a fraction as much as the anti-Trump crowd. The amount of “Putin agent !” claims is truly disheartening.
      These are exactly the sort of people who’d put you up against the wall for even questioning the Russian hacking story.

      1. jrs

        And the Trump crowd?

        And if you were black or Hispanic, etc.?

        But some Trump supporters never cared about anything cultural at all and just wanted a tax cut on the upper income brackets, and got it. Fiscal conservatives are not personally scary I guess.

    2. John k

      Fabulous, couldn’t have said it better.
      Except that in 2016 the deplorables rose up and selected the lesser evil.

  22. Carey

    The curiously hit-or-miss™ Paul Street got this bit right on the mcDebate:

    “..One neat moment came early when Sanders fended off corporate media hack Erin Burnett’s effort to paint him out as too old and sick for the presidency with a simple “I’m feeling great, thanks for asking.” Before Burnett could even finish her age and health question, Sanders answered her with the quotation given at the beginning of this essay. Here is some interesting career background on Ms. Burnett courtesy of Wikipedia:

    “Burnett began her career as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs in their investment banking division, where she worked on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. While working as an investment-banking analyst, Burnett was offered a position at CNN as a writer and booker for CNN’s Moneyline with Stuart Varney, Willow Bay, and Lou Dobbs. She left the position to serve as vice president of Citigroup’s digital media group, CitiMedia…Following Citigroup, Burnett joined Bloomberg Television as Stocks Editor and anchor. From 2005 to 2011 Burnett was the host of CNBC’s Street Signs and co-anchor of Squawk on the Street with Mark Haines….Following more than five years with CNBC, Burnett left the network on May 6, 2011, and joined rival news outlet CNN beginning October 3, 2011. There she began headlining her own prime-time news program, called Erin Burnett OutFront, which films at CNN’s New York City studios..”


    1. Tom Stone

      Big Tap, it is howlingly funny.
      And it’s more than a year until the election.
      Please God, let Judge Royce Lamberth order HRC be deposed in the matter of her E Mail system.
      And Heather Samuelson too, she was given immunity during the FBI “Inquiry.”
      No 5th for Heather.
      We’ll know by the end of the Month.
      BRING IT ON!!!

      Brexit drama?

    2. jrs

      Bit paranoid, the corporate media is Clinton proxies? No, they have their own interests, that might align, I mean these are corporate *interests*, but Clinton proxies?

      1. pretzelattack

        they’ve functioned as centrist democrat proxies, their career advancement depends on it outside of fox. can’t catapult the propaganda without the catapult.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        How many metastatic daughter cells has the Mother Clintonoma been able to spread throughout the FSM ( Fake Stream Media) as well as throughout the Democratic Party and other Clintainted organizations?

        This cancer must be cut out, radiationed out, chemotherapied out , and wiped off the face of American public life at every level.

    3. anon in so cal

      Tulsi Gabbard’s reply to HRC:

      “Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton
      . You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a …”

  23. Summer

    From Huffpo:
    “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is hitting back at Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that her presidential run is being boosted by Russia, lashing out against the former secretary of state as the “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”

    Ouch. Grab your popcorn…

        1. kimsarah

          Thanks, great video. It reinforces what I have been able to put together about their propaganda and coordinated smear campaign. I believe a lot of people saw through this b.s. in 2016 and even more people see through it today. They are going down.

  24. Summer

    “It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”

    — Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019

    Uh…not really necessary….please stop….

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Uh . . .yes really necessary . . . please keep going.

      Clinton is sewage. And the only way to clean it up is by getting down in it and cleaning it up.

  25. upstater

    The 737 Max saga gets even murkier:

    Boeing pilots’ messages on 737 MAX safety raise new questions

    Boeing should be toast, but its not!

    Forkner said in one text message, “I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly).” The other employee responded that “it wasn’t a lie, no one told us that was the case” of an issue with MCAS.

    Forkner responded soon after: “Granted I suck at flying, but even this was egregious.” At one point Forkner said “there are still some real fundamental issues” in the simulator.

    In the exchange, Forkner said he was writing while “drinking icy cold grey goose.”

  26. barrisj

    Re: “emoluments” and next year’s G7 meetup at – wait for it – Trump’s Doral, Fla. golf course:

    Amenities at the Miami golf resort include gym, spa, and on-site bedbugs. At least according to a lawsuit that the Trump Organization quietly settled.

    Earlier this week, Donald Trump announced that Trump National Doral, the Miami resort where business is in sharp decline, is a strong contender to host next year’s G7 summit. “It’s got tremendous acreage, many hundreds of acres, so we can handle whatever happens,” Trump said from Biarritz, France, pitching the property to reporters. “People are really liking it and plus it has buildings that have 50 to 70 units. And so each delegation can have its own building. We haven’t found anything that could even come close to competing with it,” he claimed at the beginning of a bilateral meeting with Angela Merkel, who was probably internally screaming whatever is German for “I survived the Stasi for this?!”

    In addition to the implications of forcing foreign governments to spend untold amounts of money at his personal resort and promoting the property on a world stage—things that some people view as in violation of the Constitution—concerns quickly turned to the fact that Doral, reportedly has had a run-in with bedbugs. By Monday evening, the hashtag #TrumpBedBugs was trending on Twitter, where naturally, an incensed U.S. president couldn’t help but weigh in Tuesday:


    I mean, c’mon, do you actually think the mo’fo’ gives a s**t about “ethical concerns”, or whatever? Puleeze, he’s firstly a bidness man, then secondly the Accidental President. And first priority is juicing the top-line of his various holdings, always. Sure, impeach the goniff, but he’ll have the last laugh, bank it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Trump’s Doral, Fla. golf course

      Trump is really sticking his thumb in their eye, isn’t he? “Come and get me!”

      (I would also speculate that the Doral would be marginally more difficult for the intelligence community to wire up; that’s why executives make deals on the golf course, out in the open air, in the wind and the breeze, with no other people around.)

  27. The Rev Kev

    “PX column: The perspective on Ohio’s Trump Country you won’t find anywhere else”

    I read this very carefully and you know what? I think that I understand those people more. It is like that there is a bit more Hope in their lives. And that there is finally some Change happening. Ladies and gentlemen – I present Donald Trump to you. The candidate for Hope and Change in the Appalachians.

    1. notabanker

      I live in the heart of this, and travel through it, interact with people all over the state on a regular basis. I’ve lived on multiple continents and worked in a dozen major global metropolitan cities. FWIW, here’s my read.

      This isn’t about hope and change, it’s about breaking stuff until it changes. Read those comments carefully, there is a genuine civil war brewing. “Can’t have an opinion unless it’s theirs” “If you don’t agree with them you are a racist or homophobe”.

      The article focuses on hardhat construction and generally poorer disadvantaged areas, but it’s similar in the suburbs, with semi-professional office jobs type folks. No one is under the illusion that Trump is fixing things, he’s screwing with the people that are screwing them and that is the best/only choice they have.

      That’s why the Dem’s are screwed with the anybody but Trump message. They are absolutely going to lose with that. Sanders is the only hope of making actual progress against this country’s problems. Anything else is going to end very badly.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > This isn’t about hope and change, it’s about breaking stuff until it changes

        I understand your point and I like your reading, but I think it’s both. It’s easier to get it together to break stuff when you’ve got a little margin (why IIRC revolutions often start when things begin to improve, not at the bottom).

  28. notabanker

    Social media amplifies these assumptions exponentially, and the lust for clicks and ratings creates an echo chamber that can block the truth from sounding.

    Applies to any topic in the universe. Social media is completely useless.

  29. barrisj

    Whoa, more bad s**t re: Boeing 737 Max here, via Seattle Times:

    Stunning 737 MAX text messages reveal Boeing knew of MCAS aggression in 2016 and misled FAA

    The two lead technical pilots on the Boeing 737 MAX program exchanged bantering texts in 2016 revealing that the plane’s flight control system, which two years later went haywire on the two crash flights in Indonesia and Ethiopia, was behaving aggressively and strangely in their simulator sessions.

    In the exchange, one of the pilots states that he unknowingly lied to the FAA about the details of the system, known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

    “It’s running rampant in the sim on me,” 737 Chief Technical Pilot Mark Forkner wrote to Patrik Gustavsson, who would succeed him as chief technical pilot. “I’m levelling off at like 4000 ft, 230 knots and the plane is trimming itself like craxy. I’m like, WHAT?” (Spelling errors in the original.)

    “Granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious,” Forkner added.

    The exchange reveals that the aggressive behavior of MCAS was known even ahead of flight test and that these top Boeing pilots were not fully clued in as to the system’s power.
    However, Boeing provided the messages only on Thursday to the chief attorney for the Department of Transportation, the federal agency that includes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), according to the person.

    That delay prompted FAA Administrator Steve Dickson to write an angry letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg Friday about the implications of the text messages.

    In his short but sharply worded letter, FAA Administrator Dickson told Muilenburg: “I expect your explanation immediately regarding the content of this document and Boeing’s delay in disclosing the document to the safety regulator.”


    Now, Muilenburg has already been stripped of his Chairmanship, and it looks as though sooner rather than later he also will receive his golden handshake and more time with the family. He also may well have some potential criminal liability laid to his feet, depending how the DOJ’s investigations into the entire MAX clusterf**k plays out.

    1. John k

      Nothing will change until white collar criminals get real jail time.
      But wagons will be circled, if he goes in the slammer he won’t go alone, and settlements to all and sundry will break the company in the absence of fed bailout.

  30. richard

    Here is j. dore on the huffington post piece, latest resistence drivel. I like dore more in his studio, for some reason.
    dem elites: “Defend our dishonored norms to the death! You starving masses facing extinction, *&ck off and watch ‘the politics of the possible’”-pelosi

  31. Cuibono

    Worried supporter here: with electronic voting why would anyone imagine we might get an honest result henceforth. Put a ribbon on it gang. when you are up against psychopaths…

  32. Carey

    From Movement for a People’s Party:

    “The preamble to The People’s Platform states the purpose of our government must be to maximize the people’s wellbeing. Politicians should be impeached for committing crimes against working people. That’s why we need to #ImpeachBothParties and replace them with a people’s party.

    This will be the third national election that Democrats rig against working people. It will also be the last.”


  33. drumlin woodchuckles

    Yesterday I was reading Reddit and stumbleuponned a video from London about some Extinction Rebellion protesters climbed up on subway cars to prevent the subway from taking riders wherever. Someone tried to pull a protester down whereupon the protester kicked the wannabe-puller in the head.
    At which point the whole crowd pulled the E R protester down and beat him up some. The comments almost universally supported the crowd. I didn’t think to bring the video here.

    But just now today I see another unrelated video of something “big picture” similar. I will just offer the link.
    And I might wonder whether these well-meaning young protestivists are making friends and influencing people . . . or not. If anyone watches the video, they might well wonder which side reminds them more of the Yellow Vests in France. Based on the answer to that question, the protestivists might ( or might not) wish to re-think their methods and target audiences.

  34. WheresOurTeddy

    Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All Dilemma” [John Cassidy, The New Yorker]. “[T]he [option] I think [Warren] is most likely to choose, involves qualifying her commitment to Medicare for All by again emphasizing its aspirational nature

    Usually you don’t pivot to the center almost 4 months before the Iowa Caucus. Interesting strategy.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Like I said, she’s in a bubble. She’s already picking out the drapes for the Oval Office.

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